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Spinach Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Salad, Recipes

Local Roots lives up to its name. Employees take turns working on restaurant owner Jessi Iams’ farm, so they can follow the path of the produce they serve from the field to the plate. It’s the sort of place chef Benjamyn Greig found as an instant fit when he started at the suburban Columbus restaurant. “I just fell in love with the place,” he says. “Working here is like a family.” Greig’s classic spinach salad with citrus vinaigrette is a summer favorite that embodies Local Roots’ farm-to-table approach. It features leafy spinach and sliced strawberries complemented by avocado and mandarin oranges and then dressed with orange-citrus vinaigrette. Greig advises making the dressing first, as the emulsion process takes patience. 

Spinach Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette
| Serves 4

Chef’s Note: This salad is a top seller at Local Roots during the summer months. “We also sell it in our prepared foods cooler in cute little mason jars wrapped in ribbons,” says chef Benjamyn Greig.

8 ounces (about 5 to 6 cups) 
baby spinach, rinsed 
1 cup strawberries, destemmed and quartered
1 cup segmented mandarin oranges
12 rings red onion, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 fresh avocado, peeled and cut into long slices
4 ounces creamy goat cheese, separated into 12–16 dollops
1/2 cup almonds, peeled and slivered 
5 ounces citrus vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spread almonds evenly on a sheet tray. Bake in oven for 3 1/2 minutes, tossing midway to ensure an even cook. Place all ingredients in a large bowl (except goat cheese) starting with the spinach and ending with the citrus vinaigrette. Toss gently. Place in serving dish and top with dollops of goat cheese.

Citrus Vinaigrette

1/2 15-ounce can mandarin oranges
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of 1/8 lemon
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground cinnamon
7 tablespoons fresh-squeezed 
orange juice
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons oil blend 
(75 percent canola, 25 percent olive oil)

Drain mandarin oranges. Place all ingredients in blender except oil. Blend on high while slowly adding oil for 1 to 2 minutes until emulsified. Will keep for seven days refrigerated. Yield: Makes about 1/2 quart